View Full Version : 10 Questions for Laura Weber Cash

Aug-03-2010, 4:17am
The Mandolin Cafe has posted news:
10 Questions for Laura Weber Cash

On September 10, 2010, the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro will observe Bill Monroe's 99th birthday (September 13 the actual date of his birth) with a two-year exhibit that includes his original mandolin headplate. We interview Laura Weber Cash, the owner of this historic icon.


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Aug-03-2010, 8:18am
That certainly is a good story of custodianship for a venerated piece of the Blue Grass Music.

Aug-03-2010, 9:05am
Good article; neat photo! "... and others." Would that be Ricky Skaggs a bit past Bill's left shoulder?

Aug-03-2010, 10:24am
I'm so glad that this interview happened. Many folks have wondered what happened to that Iconic headstock overlay... I'd also like to know what happened to that headstock overlay to get to where it is now... Did Charlie have it in his shop, or? Thanks for going after this story Scott..

Aug-03-2010, 10:27am
I'd like to say thanks to Laura and John for preserving this piece of music history.

Scott Tichenor
Aug-03-2010, 11:48am
Ken, it wasn't Charlie that had it. I've seen the name of that individual and can probably dig it up later today. The gentleman that sold it was known to have been the person that performed the repair on it while at Gibson.

Also, I'd like to publicly thank Ken for his help in setting up this interview. I found out independently who the owner was shortly after it sold and just by chance in a discussion with Ken learned that he knew who the owner was and happened to be personal friends with Laura. Ken really made this interview possible and it has been in the works for around two months now.

Also like to say that Laura was a totally classy lady to work with doing this interview. And, if you haven't had a chance to hear some of her fiddle work, you owe it to yourself. She has major league chops and taste. Great stuff.

Pete Martin
Aug-03-2010, 12:04pm
Laura is one of the nicest people I've ever met and a great fiddler.

Aug-03-2010, 12:36pm
I'm impressed that she won a national fiddle contest in the junior section and then went back twenty years later and won again as an adult. You have to have the goods to do that.

mandomedic - there was a heap of discussion when this was coming up for auction, and you can read about it here: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?57104 I believe someone posted a link to an article about how it was saved from the scrap heap.

Scott Tichenor
Aug-03-2010, 1:06pm
Well, I should know better. The answer to who took possession of it after the repair would be found right here in an article by Bill Graham dated August 11, 2009:

I'd tell you who those folks are but in just re-reading the article, I think it's worth your time if you're interested to just read that entire story once more.

Aug-03-2010, 1:16pm
I agree. That was part of why I mentioned the thread - along with our usual jibber-jabber, there was some interesting related information (plus that link, natch). Always more to learn from than bullet points.

Mike Bromley
Aug-05-2010, 8:55pm
Serious bit of Mojo there.

Aug-05-2010, 9:43pm
And after two years, where will the headstock veneer go?
Jus' wondering......

Sandy Rothman
Aug-10-2010, 6:10pm
Just to clarify what I know about this, quoting from Laura's interview: "...Bill had been angry with Gibson after taking months to do minor repairs on his mandolin, and gouged out their name from his headstock with his pocketknife"I think the length of time was a secondary issue (or perhaps not even a factor) in Bill's displeasure. As I've always understood it, his main complaint was that they didn't do what he'd requested when he sent it in for repairs in 1952. Details of this are given in (Tom Ewing's) "The Bill Monroe Reader," pg. 37, the transcript of a 1966 Monroe interview on Radio McGill in Montreal. (However, when Bill says "the neck had been broke off," I suspect he meant the curl of the headstock. I haven't been aware that the neck was off the mandolin back then.)

Scott Tichenor
Aug-13-2010, 2:31pm
So how does that square with the audio recording of Monroe in his own voice (at the outset of this article) explaining about being upset at the amount of time Gibson had the mandolin in their possession?

Jamie MacLaggan
Aug-03-2011, 9:47pm
Having heard versions of the headstock defacing since the sixties, I remembered, upon reading this interview, a detail that I have not heard discussed: Mr. Monroe, I was told, placed a 99 cent price tag right over the Flower Pot inlay to further denigrate the brand. It was said to be a Rexall Drug Store tag.

See MCA Records "Bluegrass Instrumentals" and "Blue Grass Style" cover photos, the tag is clearly visible.

Anyone else know a version of this tale?

Scott Tichenor
Aug-03-2013, 8:26am
This is one of those interesting pieces (http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/publish/mandolins_001243.shtml) that tends to be forgotten. On this anniversary of its publication three years ago thought worth bringing to the top for a bit of fresh air. Haven't followed up to see where the head plate is these days, if its visit to the Owensboro Museum was extended or if it is back with the owners.


Dec-03-2013, 11:46am
The gentleman on the far right in the jam session photo is the late George Chestnut. He was an extraordinary bass and fiddle luthier and close friend of Bill Monroe.

Mandolin Cafe
Aug-03-2018, 7:39am
Noting the anniversary of this feature article published this date 2010.